Newsroom > DHHS News Release
For Immediate Release
November 2, 2016
Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356
Flu Surveillance Starts Statewide
Flu vaccine is your best protection - #GotMyFluVax
Lincoln—The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has started its statewide flu surveillance for this season. DHHS uses multiple surveillance systems to track flu viruses, including physicians who report the number of people with flu-like illness weekly, lab tests, school surveillance, hospital data, emergency department data and death reporting. Flu surveillance shows where the flu is and how fast it's spreading across Nebraska.
"There's only one way flu activity can go at this point and that's up," said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. "Flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu and I encourage Nebraskans to get a flu shot as soon as possible."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination plays a critical role in the fight against the flu. It can reduce flu-related illnesses, visits to the doctor, missed work and school and flu-related hospitalizations.
While flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications, and it’s especially important they receive vaccine:
• Young children
• Adults 65 years of age or older
• Pregnant women
• People with chronic lung disease (like asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions and certain other long-term health conditions
• Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
Flu vaccine is safe, effective and rigorously tested. Only injectable flu vaccine is recommended this season. The nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used due to concerns about its effectiveness according to the CDC. The most common reaction people may experience from a flu shot is soreness and redness at the injection site. After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the body to build immunity
The severity and the length of flu seasons vary, but flu season in the U.S. typically peaks between December and February. Last season, there were 17 flu-related deaths in Nebraska including one child.
In addition to vaccination, there are other things people can do to protect themselves from the flu:
• Wash hands
• Cover your cough
• Stay home if you’re sick
• Avoid sick people
• Eat healthy and get plenty of rest
• Don’t smoke